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Revitalized Thiem cruises into 3rd round at Madrid Open

MADRID (AP) – Looking fresh again after taking a few weeks off, U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem cruised into the third round of the Madrid Open with a comfortable 6-1, 6-3 win over American Marcos Giron on Tuesday.

Thiem was in control from the start at the “Magic Box” center court in his first match since March. The fourth-ranked Austrian was coming off early-round losses in Doha and Dubai and felt he needed a break.

“For my game, I need 100% intensity and 100% energy,” the 27-year-old Thiem said. “I’m not the guy who can serve through a match or who can play with a little bit intense and is still winning. I need 100% in every aspect of my game. I was just not able to put that on-court like in Doha, Dubai, or towards the end of the Australian Open, so that’s why it was better to take a break.” Thiem, the third seed in Madrid, hasn’t won a tournament since breaking through with his first grand slam title at the U.S. Open in September. “There was no anxiety, but definitely I was uncertain how things will be going,” the two-time finalist in Madrid said.

He said his goal is to be back in top form at the French Open.

“That’s where I want to be at the top of my game again,” he said. “Two weeks ago, I was not sure if I’m playing here, so the expectations are still super low. A win like today is already a big success because I get a chance to play another match in a top-level, so that will help me again for the next weeks.”

Thiem said he will likely be taking more time off going forward in his career.

“Actually, last year, the six-months break (because of the coronavirus pandemic), it felt so nice,” he said. “It’s definitely something I consider, as well, in the future to better take a little bit more off. I think it’s a good thing to do and especially when you get a little bit older … The older you get, the more experienced you get; I think it’s good to do a break sometimes. For me, it definitely helped.”

Thiem’s next opponent in Madrid will be Australian Alex De Minaur, who advanced after Lloyd Harris had to retire from their match. Sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev advanced to the third round by beating American Tommy Paul 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-4, while Kei Nishikori reached the second round by defeating Karen Khachanov 6-7 (6), 6-2, 6-2. Eighth-seeded Matteo Berrettini defeated Fabio Fognini 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Italian second-round matchup, while Alexander Bublik beat 11th-seeded Denis Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

American Taylor Fritz lost 7-5, 5-7, 6-4 in a first-round match against Albert Ramos-Viñolas, who is coming off a title at the Estoril Open. Félix Auger-Aliassime fell 6-1, 6-4 to Casper Ruud. In the round of 16 of the women’s draw, third-seeded Simona Halep, a two-time Madrid champion, was upset by 13th-seeded Elise Mertens, 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 in a match lasting more than two and a half hours at the center court. Two Americans lost – Aryna Sabalenka defeated Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-2, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat Jennifer Brady 7-5, 6-7 (8), 6-3.


More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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